Prepositions of Time in, within, by, until, etc

Все основные предлоги времени английского языка (on, at, in, from, to, for, since, ago, before, till/until, by) с кратким объяснением и примерами на одной странице.

at, on, in

at always indicates an exact and specific time.

Example:

  • I started working at 9 AM.
  • The film starts at 7 PM.
  • The shop closes at 1.30 AM.

Note: Exceptions are that we say – at the weekend, at night, at Christmas, at Easter, at the moment, etc.

on:

on generally indicates a fixed date or a day.

Example:

  • I’ll see her on Saturday.
  • He broke a record on Monday morning.
  • I have a meeting on 27 October. 

in:

in generally indicates an indefinite and unspecific time of months, seasons, years, centuries, etc.

Example:

  • I will get a holiday in November.
  • Grisha was born in 2001.
  • I love playing cricket in summer.

Note: Some very common exceptions are – in the morning, in the evening, in the afternoon, in five minutes, in six days, in two years, etc.

from ... to,  until,  since,  for

from ... to:

from ... to  indicates a fixed time-span with the beginning and the end.

Example:

  • I worked there from 2012 to 2020.
  • I usually work from Friday to Monday.
  • I will stay there from 9 AM to 7 PM.

until/till:

until/till indicates a specific or unspecific time/event up to a point.

Example:

  • They will not return until Friday.   
  • Wait for me until I return.
  • I do not give up until I am succeeded.
  • I will be there until Tuesday.

since:

since indicates a time-span beginning in a time in the past and still continuing in the present (now).

Example:

  • Maxim has been in the village since Sunday.
  • He has been suffering from fever since Friday.
  • Roman and Susan have been friends since childhood.

for:

for indicates a period of time (amount of time) in the past, present or future.

Example:

  • He stayed there for four days.
  • I will be staying there for five months.
  • I will work with them for a year.
  • He was standing there for a long time.

before, after, during, by

before:

before indicates a prior event/ period of time from a point. 

Example:

  • Roman was very nervous before the interview.
  • I want to leave before lunch.
  • These batsmen should not get out before the tea break.
  • Before going, close all the window.

after:

after indicates a following event/period of time from a point. This preposition is the exact opposite of before.

Example:

  • Roman felt confident after the interview.
  • I want to leave after lunch.
  • after playing football, we went home.

during:

during indicates a period of time throughout the course or duration of any event or action.

Example:

  • Nikolay was sleeping during the film.
  • They don’t talk during dinner.
  • I don’t usually smoke during office time.

by:

by means ‘within the extent or period of; during’ something.

Example:

  • I will complete the assignment by Sunday.
  • He will return by 6 PM.
  • I will submit the list by 11 AM.
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